Transfer Admissions Tips from Former Admissions Officers

By IvyWise on Monday, February 8, 2021

Our Top Tips for Transfer Admissions

If you’re curious about how transfer admissions work, you’re far from the only one. On average, 35% of college students transfer at least once during their college career. 

While transferring schools can be an excellent opportunity to find an educational option that better aligns with your interests and passions, the process is comprehensive and often competitive. Keep reading to learn more about transfer admissions from our own expert college admissions counselors, who have worked directly in transfer admissions at top colleges. Check out our IvyWise Live webinar recording on transfer admissions, too, for an even more in-depth look at the transfer admissions process.

Don’t Think of Transferring as the Easy Option

Some students may mistakenly believe that it may be easier to get into a highly competitive college as a transfer student. Oftentimes, the exact opposite is true. Most college transfer admission rates are actually lower than their acceptance rates for first-year applicants. For example, Georgetown University’s transfer admission rate was just 6%, while their freshmen admittance rate was 14%. Don’t use these statistics to get discouraged, but rather to be realistic about the process and your admissions odds. It is possible to get accepted into your best-fit school as a transfer, but it will take plenty of hard work and careful planning. 

Do Your Research First

Much like the college admissions process for first-year students, a successful transfer admissions process requires a significant amount of research. First, take time to reflect on why you are motivated to attend a different school and what you are looking to gain by transferring. Instead of focusing on a few options, review many different school websites and take virtual tours when possible to get a sense of what you’re looking for. Aim to have at least 5-7 schools on your list of best-fit colleges, including targets, reaches, and likelies

Consider Logistics

In addition to pinpointing your best-fit options, make sure you understand what it will take to graduate on time. Every school has its own transfer admissions policies and options available to transfer students, so it’s important to understand what you can expect at various colleges. For example, some schools like NYU do not guarantee on-campus housing for transfer students. Other colleges may not accept all of the credits from the school you are currently enrolled in, meaning you may need to retake certain courses to meet graduation requirements. 

Grades Matter Most

College admissions officers will weigh your academic performance most heavily when reviewing your application, including your performance in the college courses you have completed. As a result, it’s important to stay present in your classes, even if you’re eager to switch schools. Keep showing up for lectures, complete your assignments, and put your best face forward. Not only will this help you stay academically sharp for future coursework, but it will also show your current college professors that you’re a dedicated student. Since you will need to ask these professors for letters of recommendation, it’s important to make a strong impression. 

Extracurriculars Count Too

Extracurricular activities aren’t just important in high school. Whether it’s a sports team or a volunteer role, make sure you’re active on campus. College admissions officers will want to see what you’re doing to get involved and make an impact. Participating in extracurricular activities can also be an excellent way to add to your resume, develop professional experience, and build your skillset to prepare for the transition from college to career or graduate school. 

The college transfer admissions process certainly requires effort, but it can also be an excellent opportunity for students who are looking for a second chance at finding their best-fit college. If you’re interested in transferring colleges and looking for guidance, get in touch with our team of college admissions counselors.

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